Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Will of George Brower (Brewer) of Monmouth County, 1841

George Brewer, born 20 November 1770 (Bible record) was a son of Elazerus Brewer and Frances Morris, a grandson of Adam Brewer and a great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer. He is a brother of John E. Brewer whose will was featured in the previous post. George Brewer died 23 March 1851 and is buried in the Brewer Cemetery at Squankum in Monmouth County. He was married twice, first to Rebecca Schenck and second to Lydia Hulet. In his will he is called George BROWER. Other records referring to George call him George BREWER.

A photocopy of his will dated 1 December 1841, filed 26 April 1851, was found in the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5, WIL WW-103). I have placed a scanned image online (Will of George Brower). George lived at Howell Township in Monmouth County, New Jersey, likely right along side his brother John E. Brewer (George and John E. Brewer's eldest son William, who inherited his father's property, are enumerated in succession at Howell on the 1850 U.S. census). In his will, George mentions his son Daniel, who has "not been blessed with a sound mind," appointing his executors as guardians, and that he should be supported comfortably. George's son Samuel is to inherit the farm and premises, and son John who is given five dollars. Executors are to sell all the moveable estate and proceeds are to be divided equally among his children namely, Jimima Parkes, wife of John Parkes; John Brower; Aaron Brower; Alehy Latt,, wife of Henry Latt; Ellen Teal, wife of Robert Teal; Elizabeth Reynolds, wife of Samuel Reynolds; Susan Mathews, wife of John Mathews; Rebecca Hardy, wife of James Hardy; Catherine Horner, wife of Caleb Horner. His son Samuel Brower and friend Benjamin LaFetra are appointed as executors.

George Brewer (1770-1851) can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. The profile of his family will be updated with the next update to the BGD. A direct male descendant has participated in the Brewer DNA Project, and results of his Y-DNA testing do confirm a descent from Adam Brouwer.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Will of John E. Brewer of Monmouth Co., New Jersey, 1836

John E. Brewer, born 16 September 1754 (as per a Bible record) was a son of Elazerus Brewer and Frances Morris, and a grandson of Adam Brewer whose will was featured in yesterday's post. John E. Brewer died on 6 February 1837 and is buried in the Brewer Cemetery at Squankum, New Jersey. His wife was Constance (or Constant) Hulet (1761-1845), also buried at Squankum. His will was dated 9 July 1836 and was proved 15 March 1837. It is recorded under file 10324M in the Monmouth County Surrogate's Court and should be found on FHL film #548094. A transcript of the will was included in the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5, WIL WW-104). It is now online (Will of John E. Brewer). I have not verified this transcript myself and it suggested to researchers of this family that they seek out the original file.

John E. Brewer lived in Howell Township in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Howell had been created in 1801 from portions of Shrewsbury. A portion of Howell was set off as Brick Township in 1850 when Ocean County was created.

The will adds spouses for five daughters and helps to clarify some ambiguities that are currently on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. His family will be updated and corrected with the next update. Besides mentioning his wife, Constance, John E. Brewer names two living sons, William and Adam, and one deceased son, Robert. He also mentions his grandson Webster Seabrooks, a natural son of son Robert, deceased. John E. Brewer apparently raised Webster, and requests in his will that his son William (who received the majority of the estate) continue to support and educate Webster. Although it is not entirely clear, it appears to me that Webster was an illegitimate child of Robert and a woman whose surname was Seabrook(s). Robert had died in 1825 and is buried in the Squankum cemetery. John's son Samuel, who was born 12 October 1787 (Bible record) is not mentioned in the will. I would say that it is likely that he died at an early age as well (no heirs of Samuel are mentioned in the will).

Of his daughters, John names Hester Corlies and her son John Corlies (John's grandson), but does not specify the given name of Hester's husband. Hester (a.k.a. Esther) was born 28 January 1782 (Bible). Daughter Frances (b. 10 March 1783, Bible) was the wife of John Vansele. Daughter Zelea (assumed to be the unnamed daughter born May 1789 in the Bible) was the wife of Joseph Brinley who was made an executor (along with John's son William). Daughter Mary (b. 19 January 1792, Bible) was the wife of William Warden. Daughter Rachel (who is not recorded in the Bible, but was aged 47 on the 1850 census at Howell, New Jersey) was the wife of Samuel Lippincott (age 55 in 1850).

Son William Brewer, who inherited the bulk of the estate, was given the responsibility of raising Webster, and who was made an executor, was born 5 September 1800 (Bible). He was married to Harriet (whose family name I have not yet identified) and is found on the 1850 census at Howell, New Jersey with six children, enumerated between the households of Samuel Lippincott (husband of his sister Rachel) and George Brewer (age given as 86, but should be 80), his uncle who died in 1851 and who's will of 1 December 1841, will be featured in the next post. Prior to finding both the wills of John E. Brewer and George Brewer, I had this William Brewer placed as a "probable" son of George. It is clear now that William is a son of John E. Brewer. George did not have a son named William.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"A Copy of the Will of Adam Brower"

This document, "A Copy of the Will of Adam Brower," is from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5 WIL WW-86). It is described by the correspondent of Bill Bogardus as a "typewritten copy of a handwritten copy" made in 1986. The will belongs to Adam BREWER of Monmouth County, New Jersey, who wrote is will August 22, 1768 and was proved March 15, 1769 in Monmouth County. I do not have an original copy of Adam's will to compare this "copy" to, so I cannot verify it's accuracy. My own account of Adam Brewer's will comes from the abstract published in Calender of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, Etc. vol. 4, 1761-1770 (Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, First Series, Vol. 33 [1928]). An original of this will does need to be located.

What I would like to point out about this copy is the copyist's statement (on the third page) that he "corrected some of the spelling," noting that (in his belief) the surname of the testator had been misspelled as BREWER instead of BROWER. This leads to two points that need to be expanded upon.

First, when "copying" or transcribing an original document, it is essential that the the transcriber refrain from "correcting" any spelling or punctuation errors. The original must be transcribed just as it appears. Researchers who later use the transcription can interpret the "errors" as they see fit, often by incorporating their own wider experience with other records from the same place and time. When transcribing, do not "correct" the original document.

The second issue has to do with the evolution, as I prefer to see it, of surnames, and the copyists conclusion that the surname (in this case BREWER) was incorrect. In this specific case the testator of the will was known as Adam BREWER. He lived in Monmouth County, New Jersey in a community that was dominated by the English. During the period in which Adam lived it was persons of English ancestry who ran the courts and who recorded the records. They consistently recorded Adam's surname as BREWER. To my knowledge there is no record referring to Adam, during his adulthood, in which he is called anything other than BREWER. In addition, his descendants who continued to live in Monmouth County and surrounding counties in New Jersey, are consistently called BREWER in all records in which they are found. Looking back, we can only conclude that Adam's "correct" surname was BREWER. If the copyist in this case were to spend time searching out other records that pertain to this Adam Brewer, he would no doubt reach the same conclusion.

What I have just stated above is also relevant to my statement about the "evolution" of surnames. Adam was a grandson of Adam BROUWER of Gowanus, Long Island. In the past I have often heard from correspondents the statement, "my ancestor changed the surname from, Brouwer to Brewer," (or from ___ surname to ___ surname, you fill in the blank with whatever family name you've had this experience with). In fact, very few, of our ancestors consciously, or deliberately, changed their surnames. Records from the period in which Adam lived, were not written by Adam. They were recorded by others (court clerks for example). It was not so much that Adam called himself, BREWER, as it was that others, called (and recorded) him as BREWER. As time progressed more and more records accumulate in which Adam is called BREWER. Soon, his children and grandchildren are also recorded as BREWERs. With time, the original surname of the progenitor ancestor, in this case BROUWER, is lost, and possibly even forgotten. Adam Brewer didn't abruptly change is surname. Over time, court records and other documents changed it for him. The name "evolved," for lack of a better word, and descendants today are largely found with the surname BREWER. Much later on, twentieth century family researchers discover the progenitor's surname and make the assumption that somewhere along their line of descent an ancestor "changed" the family name. This didn't happen.

The New Netherland colony of the 1600s included three families with the surname BROUWER who left descendants that continue today (Adam of Gowanus, Jan of Flatlands, and Willem of Beverwijck). Generally through the 1600s we see their names recorded as BROUWER. As the 1600s gave way to the 1700s and as settlers grew in numbers and found new communities we begin to notice the evolution of the name from BROUWER to BROWER or BREWER. And if we take the time to analyze just what is going on we can see that the later two names were not the result of deliberate changes by one ancestor. What we see is that those families (descended from the three progenitors mentioned above) who remained in the immediate vicinity of the original New Amsterdam (now lower Manhattan in New York City) continued to be found with the surname BROUWER even into the twentieth century. New Amsterdam was the heart of Dutch culture and many of the original families of this area retained their "Dutchness" for a considerable period of time. Those who wrote the records largely used the Dutch variation of the surname, which is BROUWER. Into the 1700s we can see that those families who settled in the areas of northern New Jersey (Bergen County), in the Hudson Valley of New York, the area around Albany and the Mohawk River Valley to the west, and in Kings and Queens Counties, Long Island, all areas that were still dominated by Dutch families, areas where many of the clerks were still Dutch, and where many people still spoke Dutch (or German). In these areas we find that the surname is primarily recorded as BROWER. During this same period other families moved into Monmouth County and the other counties of southern and western New Jersey, where English families were more numerous, and where those who governed and wrote the records were English, and where the primary language was English. Those who settled in towns dominated by English families (as Adam Brewer did) see their family name recorded as the English variation, BREWER. After the American Revolution and into the 1800s, as settlers moved westward and the ties to their ancestors of the 1600s were weakened, and as they became "Americans," and as English became the primary language of the expanding nation, we can see that the surname BREWER is overwhelmingly favored by those who wrote the records. Today, if you are a descendant of one of the three original BROUWER progenitors, and if your ancestors were among those who left the original New York/northern New Jersey area for places west early on (late 1700s to early 1800s) you will likely have the surname, BREWER. If your ancestors remained in the immediate New York/northern New Jersey area, then you will more likely have the surname, BROWER. These present day names were not the result of onetime, deliberate, name "changes" by some ancestor. They were the result of the choices ancestors made in the locations in which they migrated to and settled in. The BROUWER, BROWER and BREWER names found today owe their existence more to the surrounding environment in which ancestors settled then they do to anyone ancestor himself.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Baptismal Records of the First Dutch Reformed Church, Albany, New York, 1809-1850

Most of you who have spent time researching colonial families in the area of Albany, New York are familiar with the marriage and baptism records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, originally published by the Holland Society of New York in their early yearbooks (1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1922/23, 1924/25, 1926/27), and then published as one collection titled, Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, New York, 1683-1809 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1978, reprinted 1999, 2003). As the title would suggest, these published records only covered the years up to 1809 (the last entry is for a baptism date of March 13, 1809).

The Albany church records, post 1809 are less accessible but were published in the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook (volumes 36-37, 39, 43). The transcriptions were made by the late Howard A. McConville who for many years was the Schenectady Town Historian. The records were published in three sets. The years January 1809 to August 1823 are found in volumes 36-37 (1961-62), the years July 1823 to January 1850 in volume 39 (1963-64), and the years January 1850 to January 1865 in volume 43 (1970-72). The records for the first two sets of years (1809-1823, and 1823-1850) were photocopied by William B. Bogardus and were found in the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5, CHU AA-123). I scanned the pages and they are now available online.

Baptismal Records, First Dutch Reformed Church of Albany 1809-1850.

There are a handful of Brower entries in the records. Researchers of many other Albany area families of the early 1800s should also find the records to be useful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jan Brouwer and Jannatje Jans of Flatlands, Long Island

Jan (or Johannes) Brouwer is the third of the three progenitors of New Netherland Brouwer families to be profiled. The other two were Willem Brouwer of Beverijck and Adam Brouwer of Gowanus. My account here will be brief and instead I will refer you to pages authored by Richard Brewer (Administrator of the Brewer DNA Project) who certainly has done more research, put in more thought, and has a better understanding of Jan Brouwer  then anyone else I know of.

Jan Brouwer and his wife Jannetje Jans, along with their eldest child (daughter Jannetje) came to New Amsterdam in 1657. He was a blacksmith, and after a few years residing in New Amsterdam, settled at Flatlands (as it was called after the English takeover), or Nieuw Amersfoort (during Dutch rule), on Long Island. This area today is a neighborhood in the Borough of Brooklyn. Jan Brouwer's origins in (presumably) the Netherlands has yet to be discovered. The identity of his parents is not known. The marriage banns of his daughter Jannetje state that she was born in Amsterdam, although no record of her baptism has been found in the Reformed Dutch Churches there. His date of birth can be estimated at about 1632, possibly a bit earlier. Jan was living on 17 November 1702, at Flatlands, when he confirmed the terms of a deed to his son Pieter. He may have died soon after that event. His wife, Jannetje, had died in 1683.

Jan Brouwer and Jannetje Jans had seven (possibly eight) children. A Family Group sheet is available online. Of these children, sons Johannes, Pieter, and two successive sons named Hendrick,  have baptism records in the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam/New York. The eldest child, daughter Jannetje, mentioned above, was married in June 1677 to Theunis Janszen (Amack) and is placed in this family based upon her appearance as a sponsor for a child of Derck Brouwer. There are no surviving records of baptisms for children Derck, Aris and Maghtel, who were probably born after Jan had relocated to Flatlands. Derck and Maghtel are placed in the family because of relationships (deeds, baptism sponsors) with other members of the family. The son named Aris has to be described as "possible." He is included as a son by Teunis G. Bergen in his account of the Brouwers in Early Settlers of Kings County. However, no independent record or mention of Aris has ever been found by contemporary researchers. If Bergen did have evidence of Aris, then it apparently disappeared some time during the interceding one hundred and twenty some odd years since Bergen did his work.

As mentioned in the post of June 6, 2012, a genealogical summery of the descendants of Jan Brouwer for three generations was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record vol. 138 (Oct 2008). This published account is your basic "hatch, match and dispatch" genealogy typical of genealogical journals today. For those who would like to gain much more insight into the life of Jan Brouwer, I refer you to the pages authored by Richard Brewer:

Brewer Descendants of Johannes (Jan) Brouwer (Main page)

About Johannes (Jan) Brouwer 1632-1702 where you will find a link, "Jan Brouwer Historical Narrative" which I believe you will find both interesting and informative in a number of ways.

Descendants of Jan Brouwer

I also should note that I do have online a five generation genealogical summery for Jan Brouwer. I do caution that it is subject to corrections, additions and updates and is not a final word. The Brouwer Genealogy Database would include any new info or corrections, and Jan Brouwer can be most easily found through his link on the Progenitors Page.

As of this writing, twenty descendants of Jan Brouwer have participated in the Brewer DNA Project. In addition, Richard Brewer as a good deal of background regarding Jan Brouwer's Haplogroup (I2b1c). In addition to descendants with the surname Brewer, others with the surname Rose and Embody, have "matched" the Y-DNA signatures of Jan Brouwer descendants to a high enough degree that it is felt that they may well be descendants of Jan Brouwer too. But more on that in future posts.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Published Brouwer Accounts: Post "Brouwer Beginnings"

Two articles that were published after William J. Hoffman's "Brouwer Beginnings" (published in 1947/48, The American Genealogist [TAG] vols. 23-24) should be mentioned.

"Adolphus Brower (1777-1855)," by Katherine Hewitt Cummin was published in TAG vol. 44, pp. 150-153. This article identifies Adolphus Brower, born 3 July 1777, died 23 August 1855, buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, as a son of Isaac Brouwer and Jacomyntje Quackenbosch. Adolphus was married to Elizabeth Baker on 24 March 1799 in Brooklyn at the house of John Brower (recorded at St. Ann's Episcopal Church). The couple lived in Brooklyn and had nine children, eight of whom were baptized at St. Ann's. William J. Hoffman, in "Brouwer Beginnings," had suggested that this Adolphus Brower was a son of Adolf Brouwer (1725-ca.1780) and Elisabeth Lassing (this couple did have a son named Adolf/Adolphus, but he went to New Brunswick, Canada after the Revolutionary War). Katherine Hewitt Cummin's article corrects Hoffman's suggestion.

"Another Child of Peter (Adam) Brouwer," by Phyllis Miller, was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 120 (1989) pp. 44-45. This article adds daughter Maria to the family of Pieter Brouwer and Petronella Kleyn. No record of baptism survives for Maria. She married Jacob Knoet/Clute by banns dated 16 November 1727 at Albany, New York. Hoffman had omitted Maria from the family of Pieter Brouwer. Her placement in the family is based upon Maria naming her eldest daughter Nelletie (diminutive of Petronella) for her mother, and second son Pieter, for her father, and of cross-sponsorships at baptisms between Maria and her siblings Jacob Brouwer (husband of Maria Bovy) and Cornelia Brouwer (wife of Claes Bovy).

I do have a copy of the Pieter Brouwer article available online. It was included in the William B. Bogardus Collection. I do not have a copy of the Adolphus Brower article available. It can be accessed online by those who are members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society at their website American Ancestors.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Will of Adolphus Brower of Brooklyn, 1825

Adolph Brouwer, or Adolphus Brower was a son of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton, and was a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon. He lived in Brooklyn, New York and was the last descendant of Adam Brouwer to own the mill property at Gowanus (he sold the property to John C. Freeke of New York City on 5 March 1798).

The will of Adolphus Brower of Brooklyn was dated 10 April 1825. A codicil was dated 13 June 1825 and it was proved in the Kings County Surrogate's Court on 11 September 1827. Adolph died at Brooklyn on 19 July 1827. His will is found in Kings County Will Book 3, pp. 206-209. A photo copy and transcription from the Long Island Historical Society, and found in the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5, WIL WW-70) is now available online (Will of Adolphus Brower of Brooklyn). The will can also be found on Family History Library (FHL) film #0872179.

Adolph Brower was married to Aeltje Hulst and the couple had ten children. Details regarding his life can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website (please use one of the indexes to access his link). A complete profile is planned to a future post to this website.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Will of Alexander Jackson

Alexander Jackson lived in Orange County, New York, and was the husband of Martha Drake who was a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. (Line of descent from Adam Brouwer to Martha Drake). Descendants of Alexander Jackson are therefore descendants of Adam Brouwer as well.

Alexander Jackson's will dated 25 January 1815, proved 31 March 1818, can be found in Orange County Surrogate's Office, Will Book F, page 209. A photo copy was found in the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5, WIL WW-57) and has now been placed online. Will of Alexander Jackson.

At the time he wrote his will, Alexander Jackson, was of Goshen, Orange County, New York. He also had property at Minisink, New York. The 1800 census places him at Minisink, the 1810 census at Newburgh, New York, and he is said to have died 14 March 1818 at Florida, New York. These towns are all situated in Orange County. In his will Alexander mentions his wife, Martha, his sons Abel Jackson and James Jackson, his daughter Esther Jackson, his daughter Julia Davis and her son (his grandson) Alexander Jackson Davis (under the age of twenty-one), and his daughter Mary Higbee, the widow of James Higbee, deceased. Not mentioned in the will are his daughters Anna, Elizabeth, Jane and Martha, all of who were living at the time, and daughter Eleanor (whose date of death has not yet been determined). He appointed as executors, "trusty friends" John Springsted, Daniel Poppino, Esq., and William Smith, all of Goshen.

Alexander Jackson, Martha Drake, and their children can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website (use one of the indexes to locate his link). Much of the information there comes from secondary sources and further verification is suggested. Details on Alexander's Will, will be included on the BGD with the next update of the website. As of this writing I have made no attempt to research the origins of Alexander Jackson. Two undocumented secondary sources give conflicting info for his date of birth. Imogene H. Lane in her manuscript, "Drakes of Orange County, New York and Related Families," (1971) states that Alexander was born 18 May 1728, probably calculating from his age at death which was 89yrs., 9 mos., 14 dys. from 14 March 1818 (which would actually place his birth date as 28 May 1728). Ronald L. Stewart in his manuscript, "Westward Movement of John Stewart and His Descendants," (1993) places Alexander's date of birth as 12 June 1728 in Ireland, and in Appendix C includes "A record of heirs of Alexander Jackson taken from the Family Bible." However, the important details of the claimed Bible (title, publisher, date published, exact provenance) are not given, although it was apparently in the possession of Stewart descendants of Alexander Jackson's daughter Anna Jackson, and was used as evidence during one of the lawsuits regarding the inheritance of Anneke Jans. In his will, Alexander Jackson, does leave to his wife, "my books comprising my library," and it would not be surprising if a Bible was among these books.

Descendants of Alexander Jackson would be best served by spending the time to search out more reliable, primary sources if they wish to gain more insight into an accurate account of Alexander Jackson, his origins, and his family.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Gowanus Canal

In 1664 Adam Brouwer and neighbors petitioned the Governor and Council for permission to dredge a canal at Gowanus to improve the operation of his grist mill (Henry J. Stiles, A History of the City of Brooklyn vol. 1 [1867], 68-69). The petitioned was granted and the ensuing work was the beginning of what would become the Gowanus Canal (the present day canal was finished in 1869). Now with nearly 350 years of history behind it, the Gowanus Canal is a Superfund clean-up site.

In March 2011, on the old "Brouwer Genealogy" website, I posted a link for this story from the New York Times, October 21, 2009, "Renewal - On the Waterfront."

Follow up articles were published in the New York Times in 2010 and 2011:
Gowanus Canal Gets Superfund Status, March 2, 2010
Gowanus Canal Underlies Severity of Pollution, February 2, 2011
Under the Gowanus Canal, Flushing Out the Stench, February 23, 2011
Hoping Gowanus Canal Cleanup Turns Up Old Treasures, March 14, 2011

The above are just a sampling, there are additional articles and blog posts at the New York Times.

Perhaps of more interest, however, is a website that was brought to my attention by Ken Brower. The website is the online home of, "Proteus Gowanus,"which "acts as an interpreter of culture and place, deepening the community's sense of context and connection." The organization's physical location is at 543 Union Street in Brooklyn. There is a lot of varied material on this website to explore, and although most of it has nothing to do directly with the Gowanus Canal, there is one upcoming presentation that is of special interest. If you go to the page for The Battle Pass Project, and scroll about half way down to "Battle Pass - Revolution III," you will find a description for a project titled, "Molinology - an installation on Tide Mills," scheduled for the Fall of 2012. Read the description. It may be of interest to anyone researching families (Brouwer and others) from this section of Brooklyn, or to those who simply have an appreciation for "how things work."It has my interest, and if time permits I may just make the trip to see it.

Ken also pointed out another page at this site, Hall of Gowanus Archive, has information including maps and photographs on the history and future of the Gowanus Canal. What is online is only a small sampling of what they have. I wonder what might be found with an visit in person.

House of Simon Aertsen de Hart still standing on Gowanus Bay in 1867 (NYPL Digital Gallery)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Dutch in Brazil

It's known that Adam Brouwer was a soldier with the West India Company (WIC) stationed in Brazil just prior to his coming to New Amsterdam probably in 1644. So, what was going on in Brazil prior to 1644?

Ken Brower sent me an e-mail this morning stating that he was doing some reading on the Dutch in Brazil. This got me to bring up the page "The Dutch in Brazil: The WIC and a New Holland in South America," which is at This piece was written by Marco Ramerini. It gives a summery of the Dutch attempts to set up colonies in South America and of their conflicts and rivalry with the Portuguese, up to 1654. The fifteenth paragraph from the top (just prior to the section titled, The End of "Nieuw Holland," describes the situation in 1642-43 just prior to the time when Adam Brouwer would have left Fort St. Louis in May 1644.

The piece, unfortunately, is not sourced. No citations for the statements made, or a bibliography are given. Still, I think that those curious about the world which brought Adam Brouwer to New Amsterdam will find it of interest.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Published Brouwer Accounts: DNA Analysis

The first major article regarding Brouwer families since William Hoffman's "Brouwer Beginnings" in 1947-48, did not appear until October of 2007. "DNA Analysis: Adam Brouwer Berckhoven, Elias Brouwer of New Jersey, and John Brewer of Ohio," by Richard D. Brewer, PhD, Scott Kraus, and William B. Bogardus, was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record vol. 138, no. 4, pp. 245-49. It was the first article featuring the relatively new field of DNA analysis as applied to genealogical research to be published in the NYGBR. The research covered by the article clearly demonstrates, once and for all, the fact that Adam Brouwer of Gowanus and Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, contemporaries living in Kings County, Long Island, were not in any remote way related. It also put the hammer down on two notoriously false lineages, one from Jacob Brouwer (son of Adam) and his wife Annatje Bogardus (a granddaughter of the "famous" Anneke Jans), and the other from Pieter Brouwer (son of Adam) and his wife, Petronella Uldrickse Kleyn (Clein).

The Y-DNA testing was conducted by Family Tree DNA, the host company for the Brewer DNA Project. The testing on the participants in this research (descendants of Adam Brouwer, Elias Brouwer and John Brewer) resulted in the recognition of distinct Y-DNA signatures for Adam Brouwer and Jan Brouwer. It also demonstrated that Elias Brouwer of New Jersey and John Brewer of Ohio were closely related and, with the aid of some "traditional" genealogical research, it was shown that both were descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Participants who have joined the Brewer DNA Project since publication of this article have re-enforced the results of 2007 and have added new data which is helping to distinguish between lines of descent from the various sons of Adam Brouwer and Jan Brouwer. The results are also a great help to those who are just beginning to research their Brouwer ancestry. A simple Y-DNA test of any present day male with the surname of Brower, Brewer or Brouwer who is uncertain of which early Brouwer progenitor he descends from, can now "narrow down the field" of possibilities by comparing his Y-DNA test results to others who had previously joined the project.

The DNA Analysis article was followed by a genealogical summery titled, "Jan Brouwer of Flatlands and Descendants." This work is not credited with an author. It was compiled by the Editor (at the time Patricia Law Hatcher) based upon the previously published account of John Reynolds Totten, with new input from the authors of the DNA Analysis article along with Harry Macy, Jr. (former editor of the NYGBR) and Henry B. Hoff (current editor of the New England Historic and Genealogical Register). This article is the most detailed published account of the children and grandchildren of Jan Brouwer to date. Many of the placements are based upon analysis and interpretation of indirect or coincidental evidence. It is an excellent example of the difficult job of trying to piece together an account of a Colonial New York family for whom few baptism, marriage, and especially, probate records exist.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jacob W. Brower of Surry Co., North Carolina

This short biography of Jacob W. Brower of Surry Co., North Carolina was first placed online July 10, 2009.

The article appeared in the Surry County Genealogical Association Journal vol. 23 (2003). Jacob W. Brower, originally of Randolph Co., N.C. came to Surry Co., N.C. as a young man and settled at Mt. Airy. He became a very prosperous mill owner and manufacturer. The 1860 census declares his real estate worth $31,000 and personal estate $17,000, both values that are very rarely seen in 1860. His son John Morehead Brower was a U.S. Representative from N.C., 1887-1891. Jacob was also a slave owner and is found with a record of his slaves (unnamed) on the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules in Surry Co. After the Civil War, there appear in Mt. Airy, Surry Co., a couple of “black” and “mulatto” families (as described by the U.S. Federal census) in Mt. Airy, Surry Co. with the BROWER surname. No doubt these are the emancipated slaves of Jacob W. Brower.

Jacob W. Brower has not yet been placed among the known Brouwer, Brower or Brewer families. However, I suspect that he is a descendant of Hubert Brower since some of Hubert’s descendants, with the surname Brower, migrated to Randolph Co., N.C. in the late 1790s or first decade of the 1800s.

Additional details of Jacob W. Brower, his descendants and some of the former slave families with the Brower surname can be found online at the Brouwer Genealogy Database. Please use the Master Index to look up Brower, Jacob W. (b.1812, d.14 Oct 1868). His wife was Mary Martha Albright. Links to two of his slaves (Nelson and James) are provided in Jacob W. Brower's profile. It would be welcome to hear from anyone with verifiable information regarding Jacob’s ancestry.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Joseph Driggs is Not Josias Drake, Jr.

"Joseph Driggs is Not Josias Drake, Jr." was first published online in December 2008.

The absurd notion that Josias Drake, Jr. baptized on 28 May 1682 at Amersfoort, Long Island, the son of Josias Jansen Drats and Aeltje Brouwer, would emerge after surviving a shipwreck as Joseph Driggs of East Haddam, Connecticut (who died there in 1748), was first introduced in 1959 by Howard R. Driggs in his Driggs Family History (vol.1). In 1971, Driggs Family History Vol. 2, compiled by L. Lynne Driggs and Harry Stoddard Driggs, cautioned about the validity of the claim but did little to dissuade scores of descendants from buying into the story. Even today, one can still find numerous Family Trees posted on that perpetuate the fable. Fortunately the roll of Driggs family descendants include some skeptics who don't accept everything they read (especially when no evidence is supplied to support the claim). In 2008 one such descendant came forward, provided a verifiable pedigree, and signed up for a Y-DNA test with Family Tree DNA. The results, which are explained in "Joseph Driggs is Not Josias Drake," clearly demonstrate that the descendant of Joseph Driggs is not genetically related to descendants of Josias Jansen Drats (who had also been tested by Family Tree DNA).

In October 2010, Richard W. Davis (a descendant of Joseph Driggs) shared his research which leads to the likely conclusion that Joseph Driggs was of Portuguese ancestry and that the Driggs surname was derived from the surname, Rodrigues. His posts on the Driggs Family Genealogy Forum, dated 10/09/10, 10/10/10, 10/13/10 and 3/21/11, describe his research and should serve as a start for anyone seeking to take on further research into the correct ancestry of the Driggs Family. [Note: the previous link no longer functions, as was retired a few years back. Here is a link for a search at the archived using "Joseph Driggs." I refer you to the matching posts found there.]

The Drake Project at Family Tree DNA is found here, and Y-DNA results for descendants of Josias Dratz who adopted the surname Drake, are on this Y-DNA Results Chart Page (scroll down to "Dutch Drake - R1b1, and please note that those who are not members of the project may not have access to the full chart).

200 Years of Progress

Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 minutes

I first posted a link for this video back in December 2010. It's still a favorite from one of the most viewed lecturers on the internet. Using 120,000 pieces of data, Rosling illustrates the progress of 200 countries, in terms of health and economic well being, since 1810.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Family of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon

Of the three original Brouwer families found in New Netherland, the family of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon is arguably the most familiar to those researching their Brower or Brewer ancestry. Thanks to no less then fourteen children reaching adulthood and leaving families of their own, Adam and Magdalena must certainly have descendants who number in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands.

A study of the first three generations of Adam Brouwer's descendants, "Brouwer Beginnings," by William Hoffman, appeared in print in 1947 and 1948 (The American Genealogist, volumes 23 and 24). In 1933 (New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 64), John Reynolds Totten published "Verdon Family Notes," a study that covers the extended family of Magdalena Verdon. Errors in Totten's account were corrected by Hoffman in 1938 (NYGBR vol. 69). Recent information on the mother and grandmother of Magdalena Verdon (Marie Badie and Aeltje Braconie respectively) was published in 2011 in the NYGBR vol. 142 by Harry Macy, Jr., "Some New Light on Aeltje Braconie and Maria Badie." To date the parents and ancestry of Adam Brouwer remain unknown and my own account which looks at some of the false claims regarding Adam's parents (as well as supposed name of Berckhoven)  was published in New Netherland Connections, volume 13 (2008), "New Insight into the Origins of Adam Brouwer." A PDF copy has been placed online. A Family Group sheet of the family of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon can be found online as well.

The marriage of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, March 21, 1645, is recorded in the records of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam (now New York): "Adam Brouwer, j.m. Van Ceulen, en Magdalena Verdon, j.d. Van N. Nerlt." In the vernacular of the day this tells us that Adam was born in "Ceulen" which would be Cologne, Germany, and Magdalena was born in New Netherland. Magdalena was the daughter of Marie Badie and her first husband, Jacob Verdon. The marriage record implies that she was one of the first children of European ancestry to be born in New Netherland. The baptism records for the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam do not begin until 1639 and so no record of Magdalena's baptism exists. If married between the ages of 16 and 18, she would have been born  between 1627 and 1629. The 2011 article by Harry Macy, Jr. mentioned above, argues that she may have been as young as age 13 when married. That she was married at such a young age is possible when considering the time and place where she was married. There were simply few available women (or girls) of marriageable age in New Amsterdam in 1645, and so there would have been pressure for underage girls to marry. Unfortunately, Magdalena's age at marriage, will likely never be known with certainty.

We know that Adam served as a soldier for the West India Company (WIC) in Brazil prior to coming to New Amsterdam. It is very likely that he came to New Amsterdam on July 14, 1644 aboard De Blauwen Haen (The Blue Cock). The ship had sailed from the Island of Curaçao with soldiers who had evacuated Fort St. Louis in Maranhao, Brazil after the Fort was surrendered to the Portuguese on February 28, 1644 (see Ted Snedicker, "The Men Who Fought in the Indian War: Part I, the Background," New Netherland Connections Vol. 4 (1999) at page 82, and footnote 31; and "...Part II, The Roster," at page 112).  The first record of Adam Brouwer in New Amsterdam is dated February 21, 1645. Here he gives Guert Servaesz of Amsterdam, power of attorney to collect past wages due from the WIC for Adam's service at Fort St. Louis de Marinhan (in Brazil). Apparently Adam did not receive his past wages as on September 21, 1646 he again gave power of attorney, this time to Govert Loockermans, to collect them from the WIC. Back on February 21, 1645, the same date that he initially gave power of attorney, Adam Brouwer purchased from Hendrick Jansen from Jeveren, locksmith, a house and garden lot on Manhattan Island. The house had previously been occupied by Jeurian Roodolf (a former soldier for the WIC himself). Adam was given three months to make payment and he signed the agreement with his mark, AB. He was clearly preparing to start a family, and one month later Adam and Magdalena were married. It's likely that Adam joined the WIC as a soldier when in his late teens or early twenties. He is said to have shipped as a soldier to Brazil in 1641 aboard the Swol. If we estimate that he was married when age 25 (a common age for marriage for a male at that time) we arrive at his estimated birth date as "about 1620." This would also imply that he serving as a soldier at age 20 or 21, which is also a reasonable assumption.

Starting with the knowledge that Adam was born in Cologne and with the estimation that he was born about 1620, a few years ago I began a search for his baptism record in the records of the Cologne churches. It has to be pointed out that at the time Adam was born, Cologne was a Catholic city. The records of the various churches of Cologne (Cöln) have been filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and the microfilms are available through the Family History Library. A list is available online (Cologne Church Records). When viewing this list you will notice that during the time period in which Adam would have been born, Cologne had one Dutch Reformed Church (Nederlands Hervormde Kerk), one German Reformed Church (Hochdeutsche Reformierte Kirch), one French (or Walloon) Reformed Church (Franzosisch Reformierte Kirch) and twenty Catholic Churches. I have checked the records of the three Reformed Churches (Dutch, German and French), all had very small congregations, and no record of baptism for Adam Brouwer was found. I did check a couple of the Catholic Church records. From the number of baptisms per year found in the records, it is clear that the Catholic churches each had much larger congregations then any of the Reformed Churches (each one possibly being as much as ten times the size of any one of the Reformed Churches). If a baptism record for Adam Brouwer is to be found in Cologne, it is likely to be found in one of these Catholic Churches. Searching each film (which are not indexed) one by one, page by page, is extremely time consuming, expensive, and not at all practical. Hopefully the day will arrive soon when the Family History Library has indexed these films and makes them available online. (For an excellent background on the churches in Cologne see Cor Snabel, Introduction to the Records of the Reformed Churches in Cologne, Germany. He has also transcribed the records of the Dutch and Walloon Churches in Cologne and has made them available online: Baptisms, Dutch Reformed Church Cologne; Baptisms, Walloon Church Cologne; Marriages, Dutch Reformed Church Cologne; Marriages, Walloon Reformed Church Cologne).

In February 1647, Adam Brouwer was granted the house and garden lot he had bought of Hendrick Jansz. The property was adjacent to that of Willem Bredenbent, who was also from Cologne, and was the second husband of Aeltje Braconie, the grandmother of Magdalena Verdon. It was not long before Adam relocated to Gowanus on the western end of Long Island along New York's Upper Bay. He was probably there by 1652 when he filed a suit against Machiel Janssen (Bergen) over the delivery of some grain. At Gowanus, Adam Brouwer, apparently in partnership with Isaac de Foreest, built what has been stated to be the first grist mill on Long Island. In February 1661, Adam bought out Isaac de Foreest of his half interest in the mill. Adam signed the deed with his mark, AB. The mill remained in possession of Adam Brouwer's descendants through three more generations; through the Revolutionary War when it was destroyed by the retreating Americans, until his great-grandson Adolphus Brouwer sold the mill property (he had rebuilt the mills) in 1798 to John C. Freeke of New York City.

Gowanus was where the majority of Adam and Magdalena's fourteen certain children were born. The eldest, Pieter, was likely born in New Amsterdam where he was baptized on 23 September 1646. Of the other children, baptism records are found for Matthys, Willem, Marretje and Nicholas at New Amsterdam/New York, and for Helena and Adam at Brooklyn. The remaining children Jacob, Fytje, Aeltje, Anna, Abraham, Sara and Rachel are all mentioned in Adam Brouwer's will of 1692, although no baptism records for them have been discovered. A fifteenth child, Daniel, baptized on 7 May 1678 at New York, has been claimed as a son of Adam and Magdalena, but because of an erroneously recorded baptism record, his identity as a son cannot be stated as certain (more on this in a future post). Daniel was not mentioned in Adam Brouwer's will, and if in fact was a son, then it appears that he did not reach adulthood. The other fourteen children did reach adulthood, all had families, and left Adam and Magdalena with at least 97 grandchildren and over 350 great-grandchildren.

Adam Brouwer wrote his will on 22 January 1691/92 and was proved 21 March 1692. The original will is on file in Albany in the office of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals. It may well have been in the possession of descendants of Adam's youngest son, Nicholas, and brought to Albany in the late 1700s when children of Nicholas Brouwer (1714-1777) a great-grandson of Adam, brought suit challenging the distribution of their father, Nicholas', estate. Images of Adam Brouwer's will are available online (Adam Brouwer's will). In his will, Adam mentions his wife, Magdalena, and instructs his children not to "trouble or move" her. His fourteen children are all named with sons Pieter and Jacob, and daughter Aeltje, singled out for their "disobedience." In addition, four granddaughters named Magdalena, grandson Adolphus (son of son William) and granddaughter Vrouwtje (daughter of son Pieter) are each given "pieces of eight." Rather than appoint any of his sons as executors, Adam appointed sons-in-law Barent van Tilburg and William Nazareth to the responsibility. (Transcript of will). Administration of his estate was granted to his widow, Magdalena "Brewer," on 15 April 1693. Adam died  between the dates of his will and it's proving, the exact date is not known. There is no record of his burial in the records of the Reformed Dutch Churches and it is most likely that he was buried, as most people were at that time, on his own property in an unmarked grave. If the assumption that he was born about 1620 is correct, Adam Brouwer lived into his early 70s, better then the average life expectancy for the time. Magdalena survived her husband and was living as late as 12 August 1698 when she conveyed her interest in the mill property at Gowanus to her sons Abraham and Nicholas. On 18 June 1699 she witnessed the baptism of her granddaughter Lysbeth Brouwer (daughter of son Nicholas) at the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church. This is the last record found for Magdalena, the date of her death is not known. If born in the late 1620s, she would have been in her early 70s in 1699.

At the time of his death most of Adam's children appear to have been living at Gowanus. The one exception may have been daughter Helena, wife of William Nazareth, a mariner (three of this couple's daughters are found on Curaçao in 1715). They may have lived on Manhattan Island as children were baptized in the New York Reformed Dutch Church in 1691 and 1694. Over the course of the next ten to fifteen years, as the families of the second generation expanded, it appears that all except sons Abraham and Nicholas had moved elsewhere. In 1712, Nicholas and his wife sold to his brother Abraham and his wife, their half of the mill property at Gowanus. Nicholas moved to Fordham Manor in present day Bronx County, leaving Abraham as the last child of Adam and Magdalena at Gowanus.

Adam Brouwer's Y-DNA signature has been developed thanks to the participation of male descendants in the Brewer DNA Project. To date, twenty-one descendants have participated and Adam's haplogroup is E1b1b1a2 (since 2007 referred to as E-V13). This haplogroup is relatively rare among Europeans, with the highest concentrations (in Europe) found in the Balkans and Mediterranean Spain. It is conceivable that a distant ancestor of Adam's came to the area of Cologne, or northern Germany in general, from the Balkans some centuries before Adam's birth. Cologne was founded by the Romans in 50 AD, and men from the Balkans contributed to the ranks of the Roman Legions. In depth explanations and interpretations of the results of Y-DNA testing on descendants of Adam Brouwer, and more regarding haplogroup E-V13 and Adam's distant origins can be found on Richard Brewer's website, "Genetic Descendants of Adam Brouwer Berckhoven." Among those who have been tested are descendants of Adam Brouwer's sons Pieter, Jacob, Abraham and Nicholas. In addition there are six participants whose direct ancestry back to Adam has not been completely discovered. Because of their close matches with known descendants we do know that these participants must be descended from Adam Brouwer. Of the six who have incomplete lineages, two are most likely descended from Adam's son Nicholas, while the other four (I suspect) are probably descended from one of Adam's other sons, either William or Adam (reasons for this will be expanded upon in future posts).

[Source citations for statements made above, as well as additional details in Adam Brouwer's life, can be found at his profile on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, best accessed through the Adam Brouwer link on the Progenitors page.]